MISTLETOE AND KISSES
Secret Santa © 2014 by Jennifer Benson
Coming Home © 2014 by Rebecca Brooke
Christmas Wish: A Holiday Novella © 2014 by Danielle Jamie Wright
Christmas Stalkings (Bullet 4.5) © 2014 by Jade C. Jamison
Finding Sadie: A Prequel © 2014 by Brandace Morrow
Wrap Me in Your Love © 2014 by Lisa Survillas
Cover image © 6:12 Photography by Eric McKinney
Cover design by Cassy Roop
All rights reserved.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the authors. Characters and names of real persons who appear in the book are used fictitiously.
Table of Contents
Edited by Beyond The Cover Editing
My hubby and kiddos –
Although you will
be allowed to read this book
I thank you for the time you allowed me to follow my need to write it.
I love you with all my heart – today and always.
UGH . . . MY OFFICE holiday party. If I wasn’t basically required to attend, I wouldn’t be driving down Route 35, the total opposite direction of my home in Matawan, on my way to The Navesink Country Club. Every year it was the same thing. The whole firm gathered to congratulate each other on how successfully they had helped their clients get divorced, stay out of jail for crimes they may or may not have committed, for homes they may have sold and/or purchased while we got our percentage.
If my boss wasn’t the one who was directly hosting this year and I hadn’t been the one to have done all the work to set everything in place for this evening, I sure as hell would have come up with a reason that I just wasn’t able to attend. Every year it was the same thing...a room full of slightly or completely drunk lawyers who may or may not leave with the person they arrived with and who may or may not have spouses at home that they would try to hide their infractions from. There was a saying in the office that everyone thought was a joke until the holiday party came around: “What happens at the Holiday Party STAYS AT THE HOLIDAY PARTY. If not we have a lawyer you can call.” Ugh, really?
This would be my eighth holiday party that I have had to attend, but the first one that I was directly involved with in setting up. I had to admit I was quite proud of it. This would be the first year we would be having live music instead of just the chatter of the room full of lawyers not only congratulating each other, but themselves on a job well done. Mostly just talking so they could hear themselves talk. This was also the first year that spouses were invited. Whether or not they were actually in attendance was not my concern. I just never understood, with a firm our size that brings in the money we bring in, why the spouses who were the support at home weren’t included. Some may not be happy to have their spouses attend since those few believe the Holiday Party should be a free for all with a free pass to hit on their fellow employees and/or staff. Hopefully, with the spouses in attendance there would be less Monday morning drama this year.
When my boss, Monica, asked me if I would take over the planning of the party, I jumped at the chance. The first thing I did was change the location. Previous parties were hosted in hotels...yeah, bad idea. Car services would be provided to those too intoxicated to drive home, but no rooms available this time around to carry on the holiday party trysts. There was, of course, the expected bitching and moaning about that, but that quickly passed when the car service was offered. What no one noticed was that there was a higher price on the tickets to pay for the car service and the open bar was “open” for only the first hour, then went to cash. That wouldn’t stop the drunkenness, but would hopefully slow them down. I could only hope that I would be able to leave before it all got out of hand.
“Thanks dickhead, don’t mind me. I’m only driving in this lane!” I shouted through my closed window at the asshole who had just cut me off. He only cut across two lanes of traffic to get in front of me. He, of course, couldn’t wait and pull in behind me where there wasn’t a car in sight. “That’s right asshole. You got a whole car length ahead of me. Congratulations! Hope it was worth almost killing us both...asshole.” Damn it. I was supposed to be at the country club ten minutes ago. If I hadn’t had to run those stupid damn papers up to that schmuck Tellerbane’s office I would have been on time. He was such a douche. He was the guy that made attorneys look bad. He even topped that character Corbin Bernsen played on LA Law.
My phone rang from my purse on the passenger seat next to me. “Hey Monica, I’m on my way. I had to drop those papers off at Tellerbane’s office,” I answered into my Bluetooth speaker on my steering wheel.
“Ugh. Sorry. I thought Amber was coming down to pick them up.”
I loved my boss. She was only a year older than me, but she took the law school route and I took the paralegal route. I loved my job with her and didn’t want the pressure of actually being the attorney. I did the work of one, but didn’t have the title. I did, however, make the big bucks like one. I was one of the four highest paid paralegals in the firm. Monica was more than happy to continue to give me raises every year so I wouldn’t jump ship, which I had threatened to do on more than one occasion. On those occasions, Monica gave me a couple of days off and I came back to flowers on my desk and a bit more change to jingle in my pocket. I really did love her.
“Luckily, he wasn’t there. He had already left so I just handed them to Amber. She was on her way out too, but she put them on his desk.”
“As long as it is out of our hands.” I could hear the smile in her voice. Our only part in the case was that Monica completed the divorce for our client. Tellerbane would be handling the estate of our client’s late sister. The late sister who left almost ten million dollars to our client, which her now ex-husband would receive none of.
“I hate going up there, he is such...”
“A douche. He is the perfect picture of slimy attorney,” she laughed. “I was calling to let you know I’m right behind you. I was pulled into a meeting with the partners about a new hire coming aboard.”
“New hire? I wasn’t aware they had been looking. Not that…” Not that it was my place or business to know about the hiring of new attorneys, but office gossip usually knew these things as soon as the idea popped into someone’s head.
“I just found out the final details myself.”
“Well you need to dish then don’t you?” I laughed.
“Oh, everyone will find out soon enough,” she said on a sigh.
“Wait, what? Did you just sigh? Why did you sigh? It wasn’t a disappointed sigh either, it was more of a book boyfriend sigh.” Now I really wanted to know. Monica only sighed like that over her fiancé or over a new hot book she had finished or wanted me to read with her.
“He is our new Entertainment attorney.”
“Entertainment? I didn’t know we had an Entertainment department.”
“We don’t. We didn’t.”
“But we do now?”
“We’ll talk. I’ll be there in about ten minutes. Damn it!”
“What? You okay?” Shit. I kept telling her she couldn’t handle the talking and drive talent.
“Yeah,” she paused and took a deep breath. “I just forgot part of your secret Santa gift. I’ll have it for you next week.”
“Part? Seriously, it really isn’t nec… Besides, Secret Santa means I’m not supposed to know it is from you.” My turn to laugh. “You’re too much.” I looked at the package on my passenger seat.
“This is something you need and will enjoy.” She giggled. That wasn’t a good sign.
“Should I be scared?”
“Nope.” She said with a pop of the p when she said it. Now I was a little scared.
“Well, now I am. Lucky for you I’m actually pulling into the parking lot at the moment. I got Mindy.” I smiled thinking of the gift I ordered from Etsy.
“Do I dare ask what you got her?” Mindy was the office manager for the family law division. She had been with the firm about six years and she was the ballbuster of the office. She didn’t take shit from anyone - lawyers, employees or clients.
“I got her a silver nutcracker.” I couldn’t hold back my own chuckle.
“Nutcracker for the ballbuster, nice. Classic.”
I scanned the parking lot for a spot somewhat close to the door since I had a box of packages for the grab bag to bring in along with the basket for the fifty/fifty and a large roll of tickets. “Son of a bitch!” I shrieked as a black BMW slipped into the spot I flipped my blinker on for.
“What happened? Are you okay? Olive? Olive are you all right?” Monica called from the speaker on my dashboard.
“Yes, yes I’m fine. Just that I think the asshole that cut me off earlier just took my spot in the parking lot even though I had my blinker on. What a complete dickhead,” I said as I moved further down the aisle to a spot five down from where the asshole stole my spot. “Who does that? Fucking asshole.”
“If you want to wait for me I’ll help you carry the stuff inside.”
“No, it’s okay, I’m actually going to call inside and see if I can get one of the valets to come down with a golf cart. These shoes may not make it up that hill.” I thought of the Jimmy Choo’s I had bought myself a few weeks ago. I deserved them and had just gotten a bonus for working a ton of overtime last month.
“Oh, you so have to wait. I’ll take a ride in the golf cart with you.”
“You’re too much. Let me know when you get here and I’ll send them back down the hill for you. I’m out,” I said reaching for my bag to get the paper with my contact from the country club.
“See you in a couple.” Monica laughed and disconnected.
With BMW asshole completely forgotten, at least for the moment, I called up to the club and a valet with a golf cart arrived at my car within moments. I headed inside to check my coat then headed toward the room where everyone would be arriving shortly. Just as I had stepped out of the ladies room after checking my hair and makeup, Monica texted me that she was pulling into the parking lot so I called to have the valet pick her up. Meanwhile, I headed to our reserved room and was delighted that the room was exactly as I had requested it.
The room was like a winter wonderland with snowflakes dangling from the ceiling and lights glowing a bluish hue around the room. Icicles hung from the swags of beads draped across the room from the sparkling chandlers. The tables were all covered with shiny tablecloths to reflect the lights as if they were covered in freshly fallen snow.
“Wow!” Monica’s voice startled me.
“You scared the crap out of me,” I laughed smacking my hand to my chest. “You like it?”
“Like it? I love it. It’s absolutely beautiful. It looks like a winter wonderland.” She spun around looking the room over again. “If you aren’t careful they will ask you to do this every year.”
“It was actually a lot of fun. A lot of work, but also a lot of fun,” I smiled at her. “Our table is over here.” I led her to a table toward the back and to the left. It was in the perfect location to the food, bar, bathroom and dance floor. “Well, thankfully, my work for the evening is complete. I just have to drop the tickets and the basket off at the front table, the gifts for the grab bag off to Rachel, and then Calle and Billie take over.”
“I’m heading over to get a drink, you want?”
“Cosmo, please. Thank you.” I turned toward the table where Calle and Billie from the real Estate law division two floors below ours were sitting. Calle was already at the table. “Hey, Calle. I have the tickets, basket for the fifty/fifty and gifts for grab bag.” I handed everything to her.
“Great.” She put the gifts in the large box behind her. “Everything looks great in here. You did a really fabulous job.” Calle had been with the firm for almost five years. We had worked on other office events together. She was one of the nicest people in the real estate division. She was also one of the most reliable. I had suggested to Monica that if and when a position opened in our department, we needed to scoop her up. “Billie is in the ladies’ room and will be …”
“Right here.” A cheerfully fake voice said from behind me. “Hey Olive.” She smiled and took the seat next to Calle. “Everything looks really great. I wish had the time to plan such an event, but …”
“Oh, it really only took me about a weekend once I had the idea planned out. The staff here was great and really did most of the work. And without the help of you ladies, the evening wouldn’t be complete.” I hoped my fake happiness was as cheerful as it sounded. Billie was the firm’s mattress back. She had been with the firm only three years, but had slept with at least four of the associates. Even though there was a no fraternizing policy, Billie would shout sexual harassment so the indiscretions were basically ignored. I saw Monica heading toward our table with my much needed and well-deserved drink in her hand and a huge smile spread across her face. “Let me know if you need anything.” I said, more to Calle than Billie, as I began to step away from them.
“Oh, I’m sure we’ll be fine.” I could hear the strain of fakeness in Billie’s voice. God I just wanted to smack that fake smile right off her face.
“Yeah, Olive, we’ve got this,” Calle smiled, a genuine smile, up at me. She really was a sweet girl. Maybe I’d ask Monica to see if she could maybe bump up her position or even her salary sooner rather than later. That would really stick it to Billie.
“Okay, great. Thanks ladies.” I hoped my fake smile and voice didn’t sound as fake Billie’s.
“So what was that all about? It looked like Billie’s face was going to crack with all of that fake-ass smiling,” Monica laughed as she handed me my glass.
“I know right, ugh. I can only handle that for so long before I want to call bullshit,” I whispered. I loved that my boss and I were as close as we were, we were more like friends and I know others in the firm resented it, but I was Monica’s first paralegal and she was my first boss at the firm. “I think Calle needs a raise or a promotion sooner rather than later.” I took a sip of my drink. Delicious. “Could you imagine how pissed Billie would be,” I couldn’t help but laugh.
“I’ll look into it on Monday.” Monica said with a wink as she placed her drink on the table. “Oh, crap.” She gulped, yes, gulped down her martini then stepped in front of me so we were standing face to face. She kept glancing over my shoulder. She seemed almost nervous, something Monica never was. She ran her hand over her perfectly styled long curly flowing auburn hair. “How does my hair look?”